Binding 101: Safety Before Having A Binder

Chest binding IS possible without a binder.

Warning: Talk of breasts because god knows its sooo wrong to talk about those. Also, talk of self hate.

This is for all you out there who want to hide your all too obvious breasts. I have been there. Whether you are a trans man, or a gender neutral, or agender person and you just don’t want them to show because it’s too much of a reminder of what others see you as. Or maybe the mirror hates you as much as it hates me. Maybe it’s an inner struggle you just don’t want to battle all day everyday. This is for you.

When I was starting high school, I started developing breasts. I had been confused my whole life about my gender, and I had been dressing more neutral without even knowing. Being nonbinary, I don’t feel like a girl. And I have struggled with hating my breasts since I was a child and learned they were a huge part of the reason people saw others as a girl. The moment they started to truly form, my confusion and my self hatred grew to a point of almost having a breakdown. I looked for any way I could to hide my breasts.

And that’s when I heard of binding.

However, because I hadn’t come out, and I didn’t even know what to come out as, I didn’t know how to ask for a binder.

See, binding is in short, hiding your breasts.

When I learned of binding, a scene from a movie I had seen as a kid kept playing in my head. Now And Then, the movie I had seen, never really made a huge impression on me. Thinking back, the only scene I recall is the scene where a girl with long black hair was wrapping her chest with duct tape. At the time I didn’t know what she was doing. But even when I was younger I longed to do something like that. It just seemed fitting. I remember relating to the character and wanting to be seen as “one of the guys”, yet not wanting to be “one of the guys” at the same time.

So when my breasts started developing and I learned what binding was, this scene reentered my mind, and I was tempted to do the same. Dear god I am happy that I didn’t.

Later in life I learned that duct tape can actually damage your breasts tissue. It doesn’t move with your body the way that a binder should.

But, I know there are a lot of you out there who don’t know how to bind safely without having to buy a binder because I know a lot you haven’t come out yet. So I want to give you some tips on things you can do that may help you hide a little without hurting your body as well as some safety tips. These are all my personal opinions and what I have had some success with. There will be links to more sources that have great info on binding below. It is always better to buy a binder if you have the resources to.

DOS:

  1. Sports Bras. Here’s the thing, sports bras are designed to keep your breasts from bouncing as much when you run. Therefore they keep them more in place rather than normal bras that push them up more. They also move with your body, unlike duct tape.
  2. Camis. I know it seems basic, but get a cami that fits a bit loose. The extra layer of clothes can help your chest blend with your lower stomach.
  3. Loose fitting t-shirts. Basic again I know. Here is the thing, loose fitting t-shirts lay in a way that blends your body together. I usually get shirts that are a size to two sizes bigger, depending on how it fits. I usually go for longer ones because I can bunch them up over your belt and that adds a little fluff to the lower area and that helps camouflage the top.
  4. Jackets. During the fall and winter, try to stick to the looser fitting jackets and hoodies. Form fitting ones will show your breasts more. However, if you get some that are a bit form fitting, don’t zip them, that they they stay open and loose! Being open, they can also help camouflage your breasts.
  5. Drink lots of water. Wearing extra layers can make you over heat easily so be sure to drink plenty. Especially during the spring and summer.
  6. Always be safe.

DON’TS:

  1. Bind for longer than 8-12 hours. Meaning if you go to school, stop binding when you get home. It can put stress on your breasts to bind too long.
  2. Use ace bandages, that’s not what they were made for and don’t move with the body. They can also stick to the body with sweating.
  3. Use duct tape. They pull and stick to your body. It is also very uncomfortable and does damage to your body. A friend of mine used duct tape and pulled a layer of skin off after getting hot and it sticking. So not worth it.
  4. Buy shirts or bras too small. That puts too much pressure on your breasts they are a sensitive area and you don’t want to hurt them. It will also be uncomfortable all day.

Some resources you may find helpful:

TransGuys
Point5cc

If you are interested in buying a binder and you are capable of doing so, I suggest GC2b. The prices are reasonable, they are actually comfortable, and I was super impressed with my results!

A version of this was previously seen on Courtney’s Voice.

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